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Rubio plans to talk to Love, doesn't see need for rebuild to happen

by Judd Zulgad, 1500ESPN.com Updated 16 months ago | 2432 reads

Ricky Rubio isn't about to tell Kevin Love he has to remain with the Timberwolves but the point guard does want to at least touch base with his teammate to get some answers. In an interview with NBA.com on Sunday, Rubio also made it clear he feels that it doesn't make sense for the Wolves to go into rebuilding mode no matter what happens.

"I don't want to convince (Love) if he doesn't want to stay. But I want him to stay and I'm going to tell him what I think, which is we've been improving every year and he's a great player, he helps us a lot," Rubio said. "I think we need to make the next step. ... The media says it's pretty settled, but I don't know what he thinks. What I've been hearing is from the media, not from him, so I don't trust that. It can be an opinion from you guys. I just really want to talk to him as a teammate."

Rubio conducted the interview from Italy, where he was making an appearance at the adidas Eurocamp, but said that when he returns to Los Angeles on Monday one of his tasks will be making a call to Love. Rubio also wants to resume working on improving his game with a new shooting coach he has hired.

Rubio said Love's potential departure wouldn't mean he would want out of Minnesota, but he did add that being part of a rebuild at Target Center doesn't interest him.

"No," Rubio told NBA.com when asked if Love's departure would prompt him to want to leave. "I like Minnesota. But I want to win too. Of course when a big guy like him leaves you're thinking about what's going to be happening with the team. Are we going to lose a lot? Before I came to Minnesota, the season before they won like 17 games. I was a little scared when I went there.

"I'm coming from Europe, where I was playing in Barcelona. I think we lost six games or seven games in two seasons and every loss was a disaster. I don't want to go through a process like every win is something special.

"If (Love) leaves, it's going to be painful because he's a main guy. But it depends what we get back for him. We'll see what we can do. I don't think going through a rebuild year is going to help us because we've been improving every year and now we're so close to making the playoffs that it doesn't make sense to rebuild it again. It's not continuing what we were doing."

The Wolves have not made the playoffs since 2003-04 and have not been above .500 in a season since 2004-05.

Flip Saunders, the Wolves' president of basketball operations, named himself coach of the team on Friday.

It's unclear if Saunders feels taking on both jobs will help him to convince Love to change his mind about wanting out of Minnesota. Love can opt-out of his deal at the end of this season and there have been multiple reports that he has no plans to stay with the Wolves.

Judd Zulgad is a columnist for 1500ESPN.com. He co-hosts "Mackey & Judd" from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays and "Saturday Morning SportsTalk" from 10 a.m. to noon on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
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